Tisha B’Av is coming next week (Monday night, August 4th through Tuesday sunset, Aug 5th). Some practical things to consider and prepare:
- Fasters: Fasting is easier when you are well hydrated and moderately fed. Lessen or stop caffeine ahead of time. Drink lots of liquids, especially water, several days before and up to the fast. And don’t eat too much before the fast – it just seems to make it more uncomfortable. And stay cool, if you can. (Here are some tips to make fasting easier from the OU.)
- Seating: Normally able people don’t sit on comfy couches, at least until midday. That might mean the floor, or a couch or chair without a cushion, or a low bench…just think about it and get it ready.
- Shoes: In normal circumstances, we don’t wear leather shoes on Tisha B’Av. If everyone doesn’t have non-leather shoes, now would be a good time to get them – they come in handy in Tishrei, too! Crocs are a good option.
- Clothes: We don’t wear freshly laundered clothes on Tisha B’Av (and during the 9 days for many people.) If you can, you should have some clothes “pre-worn” to wear on Tisha B’Av.
- Readings: We don’t normally study Torah, although which parts of which days we don’t varies. But many (all?) communities have a reading of Eicha (Lamentations) and/or Iyov (Job), and kinot are commonly read. Do you have copies of these available? Also, in the spirit of the day, there are moving reading you can find or more kid-friendly ones. Do you have some ready?
- Kids: Here is a kid friendly article on Tisha B’Av. While I know some families rely on low-key videos as the end of the fast draws nearer, here are some other ideas including easy food to prepare for your pre-fasters. You can find busy bag ideas here.
- Food: We don’t eat or drink on Tisha B’Av as a general rule. But we can and should prepare the meal for after the fast! Be sure to decide on something your family, particularly those fasting, will be happy with, and have those ingredients on hand. You’ll also need to consider what you’ll feed any younger kids during the fast. I find packed lunches are easiest for me – here is a post with more on that.
- Charity: It is customary to give extra charity on fast days.
Remember that the prohibition of laundry, music, haircuts, meat and wine, and bathing continue on until midday of the 10th of Av.
Here‘s a good breakdown of what rules apply when.
Last is the custom some hold to begin thoroughly cleaning the house after mid-day of Tisha B’Av in anticipation of the arrival of Meshiach!
May everyone have an easy and meaningful fast.